Some young athletes seem to have certain sports ingrained in their DNA from birth. This is the case for sophomore Kemps Miller, who has grown up in a family where wrestling is more of a lifestyle than a sport. Beginning at age four, Miller displayed obvious talent and a love for the game. His father, a former wrestler and a current coach, provided encouragement and advice that would prove invaluable as Kemps began to develop. He found success in many of his early matches and carried that momentum on through middle school, where he posted a 20-4 record as an eighth grader. With expectations high heading into his freshman year of high school, Miller hoped to be an important contributor to the varsity team.
“Being on varsity as a freshman was pretty exciting, and I really just wanted to do my part to help our team achieve our goals,” Miller said.
Competing in the 112 pound weight class, he accomplished that and more, posting a 40-11 record on the season and showing why he has bright future is ahead of him.
“Yeah, it was a lot of fun,” said Miller, reflecting on his success of a year ago. “It was nice to be able to get my high school career off to a good start.”
Always eager to improve, Miller has set high standards for himself.
“This year my top goal is to make it to state. After that I’m not really sure,” Miller said. “My cousin won a state title at Plainwell, and he’s been one of my biggest influences, so I know what it takes to get to that level.”
As with all sports, wrestlers this year have adapted to competing in the SMAC. Miller however, looks at it as simply another chance to improve and measure himself against the best.
“I guess the competition has been a little tougher,” Miller said. “But that doesn’t change my expectations for myself.”
Jumping out of the starting gate this young season with a 17-6 record competing in the 130 pound weight class, the changeover hasn’t had much of an impact, and Miller continues to display his enthusiasm for the sport he loves.
However, not everyone feels the same level of satisfaction while he is out on the mat.
“I always get nervous watching him down there because I know how much it means to him,” said Miller’s girlfriend Katie Curtenius.
Miller gave a good natured laugh at Curtenius’ comment. His high school career has gotten off to a flying start, and yet his sense of humor and laid-back personality have not changed despite his emergence as a high level competitor. His record indicates that there will be many more memorable moments for him and his team both this year and in future seasons. Unfortunately for his opponents, Kemps Miller has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon and hopes to be on his way to one of the finest wrestling careers in recent Gull Lake history.
By Tyler VanderMolen